My chat with Alexandra Bracken on her newest release, Wayfarer

This week, Alexandra Bracken delivered a “tense, exciting adrenaline-fueled finale” with Wayfarer—the much anticipated follow-up to the time-travel fantasy Passenger. I’ve loved the series, which unravels a thrilling adventure through time, rife with betrayals, romance and intricately laced family relationships. This past Tuesday (on release day), along with a few other awesome bloggers, I was able to chat with Alex about the story and the process of writing it, the characters, and what readers can expect.

One thing to know is that in Wayfarer, we see Etta and Nicholas travel down different paths, across different timelines, and this means double the locations to visit (yay for us), double the timelines, but also more than twice the complexity for this particular world, its creation and entanglements. Alex talked about these struggles.

“I’ve been calling this book my problem child in the sense that it was the book that came out kicking and screaming whereas some books just sort of rain down on you from the heavens and explode out of you, and those stories are amazing.  But I am really proud of this book.  I think I managed to accomplish everything that I was going for in it.”

Imperial Russia

So what happens in Wayfarer according to Alex?

“To give you a pretty brief summary, it kicks off two weeks or three weeks after Passenger ends.  Nicholas and Etta are trying to figure out how to get back to each other at the same time that they’re trying to track down the astrolabe, and they’re dealing with alternate timelines and wars and all that crazy stuff. ”

While the book touts lots of tension and conflict, at the center, Alex discussed how the narrative focuses around families—dueling time traveling families, our relationships with our families and what we inherit (good and bad) from them.

I mentioned to Alex that I thought both Etta and Nicholas faced pretty difficult choices along the way, in terms of what’s best for them and what’s best for their world. This created some great tension and suspense. I asked whether this was the main tension she wanted to highlight, or if there were other points of contention that she wanted to explore in the plot.

Alex explained: “Nicholas’ main point of conflict in this book is that he often is in a situation where he’s faced with life or death whereas Etta’s constantly faced with the choice of family or love…

Really I knew from the beginning that their points of view would change so much as they were learning and as they were experiencing, that by the time they finally reunited they would have this clash of goals in what they ultimately thought they should do and how they should proceed.

I think that situation was really, really hard for them, because in Passenger, even with Nicholas on the side having that half-hearted deal with Ironwood, they were pretty much in agreement on most things. They were making decisions together, and so I think this was very hard for them but very necessary for the relationship, that they had to go at it independently and then figure out how this would reconcile again at the end.”

In Wayfarer, there are so many fascinating locations to explore, new characters with whom to fall in love, surprises that decidedly twist and turn the direction of the story and moments that will have us reliving them over and over again long after we’ve closed the book. If you’ve not read Passenger yet, now is the perfect time (it’s on sale for $99¢!), and if you’re already a fan of this duology, you’ll be happily flipping Wayfarer‘s pages until the story’s gratifying end.

About Wayfarer

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.

Buy Now: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble ✦

Read my review ✦

Reading Order

The series is a duology — Wayfarer is the final installment.

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Review: Wayfarer (#2, Passenger) by Alexandra Bracken

  • Summary: A tense, exciting adrenaline-fueled finale.
  • Book Type: YA fantasy/ time travel
  • Buy Now: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble

As first seen on USA Today

Review

Time—it disintegrates, collapses, shifts into other realities far more frightening than imagined in Alexandra Bracken’s Wayfarer. From San Francisco to Vatican City to imperial Russia, this action-packed conclusion to the Passenger series largely unfolds while Etta and Nicholas are on the run, this time separately and years apart.

“I’ve been orphaned by my time.
The timeline has changed.
My future is gone.”

In Passenger’s heart-pounding finale, we see Etta vanish into thin air. When she comes to, Etta finds herself in a time she doesn’t recognize, without the astrolabe, without hope and without her love. As fate would have it, however, she stumbles into the grip of the Thorn’s leader—her father, Henry Hemlock. Suddenly, her life feels like a lie all over again, especially as she uncovers shocking truths about her mother.

Meanwhile, Nicholas is desperate to find Etta and so he must partner with Sophia Ironwood to find her and the missing astrolabe. Their partnership is anything but easy with years of distrust weighing heavily between them.

“I’m coming… Stay alive. I’ll find you.”

Each of them embarks on a dangerous adventure through time, partnered with people they didn’t expect, encountering more surprises, more devastating truths and more treachery. Worse yet, an ancient evil relentlessly chases behind.

“They will stop at nothing to prevent you from taking possession of the astrolabe, should you find it. Your paths have crossed, unfortunately, and now there is now way to disentangle them.”

With their futures, along with that of millions of others, in jeopardy, both Etta and Nicholas race against time to find the astrolabe, and each other—but when their paths converge, their choices may be different enough to obliterate everything to which they’ve desperately clung.

Wayfarer is largely plot driven with intricate storytelling that helps create high-stakes tension in line with the catastrophic consequences at play. Romance readers may find themselves missing some of what they loved in the first novel, as Etta and Nicholas spend the majority of the novel on divergent paths. Nonetheless, detailed explorations across time and a constantly shifting storyline is sure to keep readers happily turning the pages towards the novel’s exciting conclusion.

About Wayfarer

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.

Reading Order

The series is a duology — Wayfarer is the final installment.

Follow Alexandra

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Review: Passenger (#1, Passenger) by Alexandra Bracken

My Thoughts

A vibrant and exciting series opener,
full of heart-stopping adventure, romance and suspense.
An instant favorite.

5stars

Synopsis

Jan-05passage, n.

1. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
2. A journey by water; a voyage.

iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

My Review

“You are my passenger, and I will be damned before I let harm come to you.”

Alexandra Bracken weaves a vibrant magical tale as a violin prodigy and a disenfranchised sailor embark on a precarious journey through time, across continents and decades, to search for an artifact with the power to both save and destroy lives. Etta and Nicholas’ adventure takes them to 18th century New York City, through war-torn London in 1940, to a blistering desert in Damascus (and more). Boldly combining history, fantasy and romance, Passenger delivers a story of forbidden romance, of magic through time, of warring families and deep betrayals, of impossible choices and fraying hope.

Bracken’s vivid world building coupled with a heart-pounding sense of urgency makes the story unputdownable. Even more enrapturing is a slow-burning romance between our two unlikely protagonists, both strong and likable, both faced with choices fated to thrust them apart.

“They were two ships sailing in opposite directions, having met for a short time in the middle of the voyage, and he could not sooner “keep her” than capture the wind.”

There are so many things I loved about the novel. The concept. The characters. The locations. The story’s pacing. The forbidden romance. Everything came together expertly, making it all too easy to devour the novel.

We meet 17-year-old Etta Spencer the evening of her musical debut, but before she graces the stage, with a discordant sound and a fierce thrust, she finds herself on a ship sailing towards 1776 New York City. Suddenly, truths about her newfound ability, her ancestry, and a history of feuding, time-traveling families, catapult her into a frenzied and unfathomable reality.

Aboard the ship, she meets Nicholas, a former slave whose leashed freedom extends only as far as his signature on a contract and a debt to a family that has stolen his worth, his family. When Etta and Nicholas meet, a connection full of promise sparks to life, but their unfortunate situation tethers them to an ill-fated reality.

Etta is then taken to the man who holds her future in his dirty hands. She has days to retrieve a dangerous object for him, or else.

Racing through time with Nicolas at her side, Etta deciphers her mother’s clues while devising a way out of her impossible situation. All the while, Nicholas and Etta’s intensifying emotions bring them closer together, despite not wholly knowing Nicholas’ true intentions. Together though, during quiet and shrouded moments, they are able to fully be themselves, able to love each other, regardless of the inevitability of their forsaken future.

“I forget myself with you… I forget the rules. I forget every other living soul in this world.”

Suspense and romance duel delightfully in this exciting series opener. The novel ends with a heart-stopping finale which promises even more danger and intrigue. I cannot wait to read book two, Wayfarer. For now, know that this is a novel that shouldn’t be missed. It’s already one of my favorites of 2016!

“You cannot fathom the distance I would travel for you.”

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